Christmas Volunteer

  • Christmas Service Projects

    While driving with my four-year-old today, he wanted to tell riddles. Given his age, I wasn't expecting a high level of humor, but thought maybe I'd get some cute material for the family Christmas letter that I'm struggling to write. I suggested a Christmas riddle and he responded:

    "What do a gun and bullets have in common?"

    (pause) "That's your Christmas riddle?"

    "Yeah, remember how I want a Nerf gun for Christmas?"

    Hmm, very festive, buddy! Time to pull out the box of books about Jesus' birth, and perhaps also a few activities to teach him that it's better to give than receive...

    I'm realistic, and know that my kids are excited about their Christmas wish lists. But that also means it's easy to talk about those whose families can't afford presents. Consider a special shopping trip to choose some gifts that will be donated to Toys for Tots. Another option is an organization called Angel Tree, which connects children of prison inmates with people that can provide Christmas gifts on their behalf.

    Thinking globally, there are obviously needs that are much deeper than those of gifts. The World Vision Christmas Gift Catalog allows you to "shop" for items that can transform impoverished lives.  For instance, $100 can purchase a goat and two chickens, providing a steady supply of protein to nourish a family. A gift of $85 provides a bicycle for a girl that couldn't otherwise attend school safely and consistently.

    Another wonderful resource, all year long, is a website called Big-Hearted Families. Whether it's helping your family nurture attitudes of kindness and compassion, or contributing to your community with a service project, you'll find great ideas here. I appreciate that there are ideas for kids of all ages, and they really make it easy to jump right in.

    Here are some other helpful sites related to service:

    VolunteerMatch - matches up your interests and location with volunteer opportunities

    Do Something - teens are connected to service in ways that "[don’t] require money, an adult, or a car"

    United We Serve - a government resource to link volunteers and causes, encouraging users to register their own projects

    How do you encourage a giving spirit during the holidays?

  • Volunteering during the holiday season

    I came across a website that I hadn't heard of until today entitled: http://www.volunteermatch.com. The objective of the site is to assist good people by providing a conduit for connection to good causes. I found the concept to be quite refreshing and decided to devote today's blog post to highlighting their service.

    During the holiday season many non-profit organizations and religious groups carry out wonderful acts of service in their communities. These groups accomplish a great deal of good during this busy season of the year. Some of these outreach efforts touch senior citizens, homeless people, those that are hungry and other groups with real, tangible needs that can be met by the loving outreach of others.

    The holiday season for many Americans is a time of hustle and bustle. The season often includes long trips to the mall, decorating our homes "just right", traveling to see family and friends and a host of other activities. The sentiment for many people after the conclusion of the season is one relief and a desire to "catch up on rest". Sometimes I wonder if the season wouldn't feel so hectic and crazy if we made time to connect to a cause that helps meet the needs of others during, what can be, a difficult time for some.

    If you've ever had that thought go through your mind, I'd encourage you to consider checking out the website above and see if you can get connected to a great cause that will make a difference in the life of someone else.

    The website offers a nice feature that assists people in finding opportunities. Although it's only August 1st, opportunities to help out during the holiday season are already being published for this coming season. Consider taking a look to see what's available and maybe start a new tradition with your family!

    Thanks for stopping by today.

    Below is a screen shot of the "finding opportunities" page:

    Screen shot of volunteer finder

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